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The Ultimate Contouring Guide For Beginners

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The Ultimate Contouring Guide For Beginners

One sure-shot way to get razor-sharp features? Master the art of contouring. Chiselled cheekbones and a sculpted jawline will never not be in vogue – courtesy of the iconic Kim Kardashian and JLo, and, more recently, Zendaya.

In simple terms, contouring is a makeup technique that involves enhancing the shape of your face by adding shade and light in the right places. The prime purpose is to accentuate your cheekbones, jawline, and nose. Available in powder form, creams, gels, and balms, contouring products are often mistaken for bronzers. However, we are here to help you tell them apart.

The Difference Between Contour and Bronzer

While the two products look fairly similar, there is a big difference between them. Contouring entails adding dimension and definition to the face, while bronzing involves adding a glowy warmth to your skin.

How To Contour Like A Pro

  1. Pick The Correct Shade: As a rule of thumb, pick a shade darker than your foundation. For more drama, you could opt for two shades darker, but steer clear of an orange or bronze hue. Instead, pick ashy shades with a cooler undertone.
  2. Pick The Right Texture: With myriad textures available, settling for one could seem confusing; it would depend on the look you want to create. For instance, if you’re looking for a lit-from-within, dewy appearance, pick a cream-based formulation. Cream finishes are subtler when compared to powder and are great if you have dry skin.
  3. Contour The Right Regions: Using your contour, work along the edges of your forehead and under the cheeks and jawline to add dimension and accentuate your best features. Swipe on some highlighter along your cheekbones to add a dash of drama.
    Pro Tip: Use sellotape to define your contour lines for razor-sharp, clean results.

Shop our edit of contour sticks and palettes that you need to add to your beauty bag stat!

Editor’s Pick

As a beauty editor, I can vouch for this Charlotte Tilbury offering. A lightweight, buildable, and super-blendable formulation, it gives you chiselled cheekbones and a sculpted jawline in just a few swipes! Besides, this product is vegan-friendly, gluten-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, and cruelty-free.


Add drama and dimension to your face with Katrina Kaif’s Kay Beauty contour stick. Enriched with vitamin C, it’s available in three shades and suits all Indian skin tones. Its marula oil base gives it a creamy texture, making it easy to apply and blend.

Best Budget Buy

Meet a powder contour palette that features four highly pigmented shades to sculpt your face and accentuate your features. Plus, it’ll be easy on your pocket!

Luxe Purchase

Smashbox’s 3-in-1 contour kit houses a highlighter and bronzer, too! Swipe away to a perfectly sculpted face with this blendable powder formula that comes with an angled brush for seamless application.

Made in India

Just the travel-friendly duo you need – Nykaa’s Contour & Conquer palette includes a contour and a highlighter boasting a silky-smooth formulation. With the help of a brush, apply the contour along your jawline, on the sides of the nose, under your cheekbones, and along the edge of your forehead. Use the highlighter powder on the bridge of your nose, along your cupid’s bow, brow bones, cheekbones, and chin for final touches.

For Makeup Mavens

This professional contour and highlighter palette is for all you beauty connoisseurs out there. Featuring eight fabulous shades to enhance your best features, the palette is refillable and customisable, too.

Our Bestseller

Insight Cosmetics’ Duo stick is just what you need if you’re often on the go. The velvety texture ensures effortless blending and that no streaks are left behind. Apply the contour along the hollows of your cheeks and the jawline, and smudge the highlighter on the high points of your face.

Cross-Border Favourite

Nykaa lends you this offering from beyond the borders! Ready Set Jet’s Contour Add On features a rich, creamy texture. It’s easy to blend and a little goes a long way to add more depth and dimension to your face.

Nykaa Recommends

Chambor’s Visage Contour Studio Face Palette is your perfect 3-in-1 multitasking product, housing a contour, highlighter, and blush. Imbued with vitamin E, this formulation lends a weightless, second-skin-like feel to give you a naturally glowing complexion.


This product will not only give your face a razor-sharp appeal but also slip right into your pocket. A cream-to-powder formula, Nudestix’s matte contour stick will give your face a soft-focus sculpt – defining your inherent bone structure and playing with natural light.

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